The number of passengers traveling through Dubai Airport decreased to 86.4 million passengers in 2019, and by 3.1% from the previous year, to record the first annual decline in travel traffic.
Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths said that the factors that led to the decline include the temporary closure of the landing strip, the collapse of the Indian “Jet Airways”, and the prevention of “Boeing 737 MAX” aircraft from flying globally.
He added that the airport lost about 3.2 million potential passengers as a result. Dubai is a popular destination for Indian airlines such as Jet, while fly Dubai-based airline Dubai is a major customer of the Max plane.
Passenger traffic was also disappointing in 2018, as it was expected to return to record double-digit growth, but recorded only 1% growth, which is the slowest pace in 15 years.
Aircraft landings and takeoffs fell 8.6% to 373,261 during 2019, while the average number of passengers per flight increased by 5.8% to 239 passengers.
Passenger traffic increased by 1.3% in the fourth quarter of last year to 21.9 million, and the airport received 7.2 million passengers per month throughout the year.
Travel in the first quarter of the year is likely to be affected by the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China, which has resulted in travel restrictions and suspension of flights to and from the world’s second-largest economy.
The UAE suspended all flights to and from mainland China, except for Beijing, as of February 5.
Meanwhile, a UAE airline has announced that it will sell 38 aircraft to an investment and rental company, in a $1 billion deal, to reduce costs.
Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, has said it will sell 38 aircraft, including 22 Airbus A330s and 16 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, in a deal with KKR Investment The Altavier Air Finance Company.
The KKR stated that the Boeing 777-300ER will be “leased back to Etihad upon purchase in early 2020, while the Airbus A330 will go to international customers.”
The union described the move as consistent with “the third year of the transformation program.” The company said in a statement that “the deal provides us with flexibility while ensuring our commitment to our sustainability goals and maintaining a fleet of the most fuel-efficient and technologically advanced aircraft.”
Etihad Airways has suffered yearly losses for nearly four years, with an annual loss of more than $1 billion.
These losses led her to search for ways to reduce its expenses, including the expected layoffs of pilots early this year.
Emirates Airlines announced it had incurred losses for the third year in a row last year, blaming the market situation and fuel price increases.
The Abu Dhabi-based UAE company said net losses shrank to $ 1.28 billion last year, from $1.52 billion in 2017, according to Al Jazeera Net.
She added that the company’s total revenue last year decreased by 2.4%, to $ 5.86 billion, down from $6 billion a year earlier.
The company transported 17.8 million passengers last year, down from 18.6 million in 2017.
The company also finished last year with a total number of 106 aircraft, compared to 115 aircraft in 2017, despite receiving 8 new aircraft last year.
In 2018, it stated, it had stopped a number of flights to cities such as Tehran, Jaipur (India), Entebbe (Uganda), Dallas, Fort Worth, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam and Edinburgh.